Archive for the 'Review' Category

01
Apr
08

now i can ask, now i can say

I’m not one to obsess over dead celebrities – or live ones, for that matter – but there have been a few untimely losses over the years that have given me pause. Jeff Buckley, or Adrienne Shelly… or this post’s subject, Leslie Cheung. So at great risk to my celebrity-snubbing reputation I’m going to get personal here & knock out a full-blown tribute.

Well, maybe half-blown.
0.125-blown.

Leslie Cheung

Four years ago I rented a movie called Happy Together because of it’s star, Tony Leung Chiu Wai – a Hong Kong colleague of Leslie’s and one of the most talented actors in the world, IMO. As much as I enjoyed Tony’s performance, I was speechless watching Leslie Cheung. It’s a good thing Tony had scenes of his own in that film, otherwise I might not have remembered him even being in it. Cheung’s captivatingly violent pouting skills were something of a trademark of his. His characters were usually troubled, often sullen, which made their moments of joy so disturbingly bright.

I was hooked. After Happy Together, I found Days of Being Wild, then Ashes of Time, and then the realization that I was a year too late. Leslie had killed himself the year before, in 2003 (on April Fools’ Day, actually – making today his 5 year Death-iversary). It was a sad and disappointing discovery, but I hadn’t been in the habit of building shrines to superstars so I filed it away in my brain and let it blur into memory.

The inspiration for this post came recently as I was planning my next Netflix film festival [1]. I had rented Lust, Caution and the whole time I kept thinking, “Where’s Leslie?” Tony Leung was the star again, and like I said, he’s amazing and was completely right for that role, but I suppose it was the film’s time period or the sentimental soundtrack that got me thinking about what Leslie’s missed out on. What we’ve all missed out on [2].

Yeah, he made some shitty movies, nibbled at the mise-en-scene, and was otherwise pretty much…ahema diva, but he entertained me. So I decided to hold a Leslie Cheung-a-thon, not realizing that thousands of his fans were thinking the same thing at roughly the same time.

Leslie Cheung

Read more about him here.
Watch him here, here, here, or where ever you can [3].
Raise a collective eyebrow at the mixtape I made for this post here.
,k

[1] Okay, so I like to thematically arrange my Netflix queue into mini-festivals to give myself a solid block of Godard, or Fellini, or ST:Voyager Season 4 to contemplate all at once. I know I’m not the only one.
[2] In The Mood For Love? But of course. 2046? Are you kidding me? He would have rocked the part of that damaged, womanizing sleaze. No offense, Tony.
[3] Just don’t watch his last movie ever unless you’re prepared for the art-imitating-life ending. I never thought derivative tripe could make me cry, but there you have it.
10
Mar
08

in a state of temporal flux – please try again later

Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson

If that’s true, I’m so far gone today I don’t know when or where I am.

I haven’t had to deal with Daylight Savings Time in nearly 5 years, so this morning was something of a crisis for me. I can barely drag my ass out of bed at the “normal” time every morning, and now they want me up an hour earlier? So, I feel a little out of it.

Last night I watched a movie called What Time Is It There? and I must admit that I completely overlooked its relevance to the recent DST switch until I started to compose this post. The film takes place in Taiwan, where a watch vendor sells to a woman leaving for Paris the next day. Upon her departure, he goes around town switching every clock he can find to Paris time. Hilarity doesn’t ensue, but if you’ve seen any other Ming-liang Tsai films, you might have guessed at that. I really like his style, in the same way I like Wong Kar-wai and Jim Jarmusch. Human stories told with minimal interference. They hit me in the gut every time.

What Time Is It There is about being alone, and the dull despair of being lonely. It’s about our perception of time and distance, and the invisible connections between people worlds apart.

red starred starred starred star

,k

22
Feb
08

Review – There Will Be Blood

red starred starred starred star

I was treated to a viewing of There Will Be Blood on my recent trip to Washington, and I must admit, my initial reaction was pretty negative. I complained about the actors, the plot, and even sarcastically offered to get my friend’s money back for her. The funny thing was, when talking about the movie in the days & weeks afterward, the first thing out of my mouth was “It was really good.” And I meant it. Somehow, the whole thing had mellowed in my brain and I realized a few factors that had set me off initially.

  1. I sat behind The World’s Most Restless Woman. We were in an older theatre (none of that schmancy stadium seating), so I expected to deal with heads in my way – but this lady was all over the place. I spent 90% of the movie compensating for the ants in her pants, and that made me pretty cranky.
  2. I think I expected a completely different movie. Actually, I’m not sure what I expected, because I hadn’t read any reviews, watched any trailers – all I knew was “Daniel Day Lewis” and the promise of “Blood” in the title. For some reason I had the notion that it was going to be more brutal and more focused than it was. The exciting & violent parts were exciting, and violent, but they were paced out such that it broke the tension for me. I guess it would have helped to know that it was really The Story of a Man’s Life, and not about a single incident with a solid conclusion.

But, time heals all hissy fits, and I am now able to publicly admit the error of my ways. I would like to apologize to my fellow movie goers at The Guild on the night of the 8th for the scowl on my face as the house lights came up. Please contact Totalitarian Vegetables Customer Service for a free smile.

,k




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